Report of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of New York on the Matter of the Relation of the Right Rev. Henry (Enrique) Chauncey Riley, late Bishop of the Church of Jesus in Mexico, to the Diocese of New York. May 2, 1885.
To the Right Reverend Henry C. Potter, D. D., Assistant Bishop of New York:
Right Reverend and Dear Sir,
The Standing Committee of the Diocese of New York acknowledge your communication addressed to them on the 20th day of March last, in which, under the provisions of Title III, Canon 2, Sect. ii of the Digest, you ask their counsel in regard to the relation of the Right Reverend Dr. H. C. Riley, late Bishop of the Church of Jesus in Mexico, to this Diocese. The Standing Committee have been informed, by you, in the communication now referred to, that Bishop Riley is at present residing in this Diocese, and that he has been invited to minister to the congregation until lately under the charge of the Rev. Joaquin de Palma deceased, and now worshipping in the Church du St. Esprit in this city. You state that you are uncertain as to the requirements to be made of Bishop Riley in order to admit him to the exercise of his ministry, and request an expression of opinion from the Standing Committee, to help you to a decision in the matter.
This committee beg leave to say, in reply, that they have given the subject their very careful consideration, and have arrived at the following conclusions, which they now respectfully submit.
The subject is, undoubtedly, one of great difficulty and delicacy. We have no precedent exactly corresponding, to guide us, the case of Bishop Riley being entirely exceptional, and not provided for, by any legislation in our branch of the Church: nor is it likely that an instance of this kind will hereafter occur. In expressing their opinion, the Standing Committee have limited themselves to the points presented in your letter, and have carefully excluded from consideration everything of a personal nature, as not pertinent to the interrogations addressed to them.
The questions submitted to them by you are two:--
I. What is the relation of Bishop Riley to the Diocese of New York?
II. What requirements are to be made in order to admit him to the exercise of his ministry and to the charge of a Parish in this Diocese?
The Standing Committee present their replies as follows:
Dr. Riley was ordained a Deacon, and subsequently a Priest, in the Diocese of New York, by the Bishop of New York. He was rector of a Church in union with the Convention of this Diocese from the date of his ordination (1866-67 for about two years) and thereafter up to the time of his Consecration as Bishop, his name appears continuously in the list of Clergy of the Diocese of New York annually presented to the Convention by the Bishop; and for several years immediately preceding his consecration he is recorded as officiating in Mexico. The following memorandum presents these facts in his history in full.
The Journal of the Diocesan Convention of 1862 shows that Henry Chauncey Riley was admitted Candidate for Deacon’s & Priest’s Orders, Nov. 27, 1861.
He was ordained Deacon by Bishop Potter Dec. 8, 1866 (Journal 1867, page 145.)
He was advanced to the Priesthood by Bishop Potter, March 17, 1867 (Journal 1867, page 147.)
He was Rector of the Church of Santiago (see the note at the end of this transcription), in the City of New York, in the year 1867 (Journal 1867, page 150.) He appears to have attended the meeting of the Convention in 1867, but his name does not subsequently appear among those attending the meetings of the Convention.
In the Journals of 1867 & 1868 his name appears in the List of Clergy, as Rector of the Spanish Church of Santiago.
In the Journals of 1869, 1870-71-72-73-74, in the List of Clergy of the Diocese of New York, appears the name of “The Rev. Henry C. Riley”, without any cure attached to the name.
In the same list, in the years 1875-76-77-78, appears “The Rev. Henry C. Riley officiating in Mexico.”
In the Journal of the year 1879, the name does not appear, either in the List of the Clergy, nor among those to who the Bishop has granted Letters Dimissory.
The only methods prescribed by the canons for terminating the relations of a Clergyman to the Diocese with which he has been connected are, transfer with letters dimissory, degradation, and deposition from the Ministry.
Nothing appears in the records of the Diocese to show that Dr. Riley has lost his connexion with the Diocese.
On the 24th of June 1879, while a clergyman of the Diocese of New York “officiating in Mexico,” Dr. Riley was consecrated Bishop of the Church of Jesus in the Valley of Mexico, by Bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States acting under the authority of the Bishops of the said Church “in council assembled,” and within the provisions of Article X of the Constitution.
The consecration of a Priest to the office of a Bishop does not take away his functions & character of Priest; he continues qualified to perform all the offices and functions of the Priesthood, and is competent to take charge of a parish; nor does such consecration necessarily and per se disturb the existing relations of the person consecrated toward the Diocese or Parish with which he may have been connected at the time of his consecration. For example, Bishop Moore and Bishop Hobart retained, notwithstanding their consecration as Bishops of New York, their parochial cure in this Diocese; and when Bishop Coxe and Bishop Tuttle were consecrated to their sacred office, their separation from the Diocese of New York was the result of their resignation of their several cures, they destroying their “settlement” in the Diocese, and their “resignations” were reported to the Convention and are “of record.”
It would therefore appear that no canonical rule exists whereby Dr. Riley is excluded from ministering as a clergyman within the Diocese of New York.
II. What requirements are to be made, in order to admit Dr. Riley to the exercise of his ministry and to the charge of a parish in this Diocese?
The Standing Committee respectfully present in reply to the second interrogatory the following statements and suggestions.
On the 24th day of April D.D. 1884, in the City of New York, Dr. Riley addressed a communication to the Right Rev. Bishops of Delaware, Connecticut, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Western New York, Long Island and Albany, constituting the Mexican Commission of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, in which he resigned his jurisdiction in the terms following:
“I, Henry Chauncey Riley, Doctor of Divinity, consecrated to the office of Bishop of the Diocese of the Valley of Mexico, by Bishops of the said Protestant Episcopal Church, in the City of Pittsburgh, on the twenty-fourth day of June, A. D. 1879, influenced by your fraternal counsel and request, do hereby present to you my resignation of my jurisdiction, as Bishop of the Valley of Mexico, and do hereby pledge myself to exercise no Episcopal Authority or perform Episcopal acts in said Diocese, or in the Republic of Mexico; and I further promise to forbear all exercise of the functions of my said office, except with the advice and consent of the Mexican Commission, or on the invitation of the Ecclesiastical Authority of some Diocese for service in the Diocese concerned, or in a vacant Missionary Jurisdiction by appointment of the Presiding Bishop of the said Protestant Episcopal Church.”
Dr. Riley has thus already given his pledge that he will not perform any Episcopal Act within the Diocese of New York, or any other Diocese, unless upon the request of the Ecclesiastical Authority thereof. Nevertheless, we recommend that this general promise, heretofore given, be specifically repeated to the Assistant Bishop of the Diocese.
As to canonical requirements, Canons X and XI of Title I, relating to clergyman coming from foreign countries, and desiring to be permitted to settle in some Diocese of this Church, and to persons admitted to Holy Orders by Bishops Not in Communion with this Church, do not apply to Dr. Riley’s case, he having been ordained in the Diocese of New York and by the Bishop of that Diocese.
It is understood that Divine service in the Church to which Dr. Riley has been invited in this city is celebrated in the Spanish language. Canon XII of Title I provides that a clergyman coming from a Foreign Country, regularly ordained, may, with the approbation of the Bishop, acting with the advice and consent of the Standing Committee or on “complying with the other requisites of the Canons,” settle in such Church as minister thereof, without having resided one year in the United States. Dr. Riley has resided more than one year in the United States, so that the dispensation authorized by this canon is unnecessary; but, as has been shown, Dr. Riley still has an uncancelled record of connection with the Diocese of New York, and, though apart for some years, has now come back to this Diocese, and proposes to take charge of a Church in the City of New York in which the services are conducted in a foreign language: the spirit of this canon seems to bring him within its scope.
In view, however, of the peculiarities of the case, arising from the fact that Dr. Riley now holds the office of Bishop, though having no jurisdiction, it seems advisable, and possibly necessary, in addition to all the usual requirements prescribed by the canons--other than that of letters dimissory, which does not apply,--that, in addition to the solemn pledge and engagement that he will not perform any Episcopal Act within this Diocese unless upon the request of the Ecclesiastical Authority thereof, it be required of him,
I. To promise, while ministering or officiating in a Parish in this Diocese, obedience and conformity to, and observance of, the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese; and that he agree to submit himself to the control and jurisdiction of the Ecclesiastical Authority, and to the Discipline of the Diocese, while residing within it and ministering in a Church or Parish therein, to the same extent as other Ministers settled in or belonging to the Diocese are subject or liable.
Furthermore, as the Standing Committee are of the opinion that the case of Dr. Riley is one which calls for legislation by the Church as represented in her General Convention, and that provision should be made by Canon for the settlement of Bishops, who having been consecrated by Foreign Countries, or as Missionary Bishops in our Domestic or Foreign Fields, have, for any good and sufficient reason been forced to return to and resume their residence in their former abodes, foregoing the further exercise of their Episcopal functions in the places to which they were sent; and as they consider what ever may be done at present in the case of Dr. Riley to be provisional and temporary, and in the nature of accommodation until legislation can be had, applicable thereto, we advise that Dr. Riley be required to give further pledges as follows:
II. That, until a decision by the General Convention upon the Relations of a Bishop of a Foreign Church to the Church in the United States, and to the Church in any Diocese of the United States, he will not accept the Rectorship or Assistant Rectorship of any Church or Parish within this Diocese.
III. That, until decision by the General Convention as above, he will accept no Ministerial or Clerical position in this Diocese, other than that of Minister in Charge of the Church of Santiago in the City of New York, unless with the assent of the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese of New York.
Submitting these views on the subject on which you have asked our counsel, we have the honour to remain,
Right Reverend and Dear Sir,For the Standing Committee of the Diocese of New York
With Sincere Respect and Affection,
Very Faithfully and Truely,
Your Obedient Servants,